SCRANTON — Lackawanna County officials say they may have to purchase new holding cells for county prisoners. It seems a set of holding cells intended for the county courthouse have gone missing.
New cells could cost taxpayers a total of $200,000.
Those three portable cells are used to hold county prisoners when they come to the courthouse for hearings.
According to county officials, judges wanted to install more holding cells to keep the courts moving efficiently.
Lackawanna County once had cells that would have solved the problem but no one seems to know what happened to them/
Newswatch 16 spoke to a few county officials, but none of them wanted to go on camera. They all agreed that the cells have disappeared, they disagreed on how.
The cells were moved from the courthouse around 2005 when a courthouse renovation project began. They were taken apart and moved to a storage facility a few blocks away on Wyoming Avenue.
One county official says they were then moved to a trailer at the county’s recycling center on Boulevard Avenue.
Another official thinks they may have ended up in storage at Montage Mountain.
A county spokesperson thinks they could have been accidentally sold as scrap.
No matter the story, they all end the same way: the holding cells are gone and may have been for years.
“Funny the way it came up too, right around election time, because somebody wants to be a sheriff maybe? Maybe they knew it for a long time but they decided to break it today because the election is right around the corner, make somebody else look bad,” said Eddie Smith of Scranton.
A Lackawanna County spokesperson says the missing cells came up now because county judges requested back in September to have more cells installed at the courthouse to keep hearings moving more efficiently.
The missing cells were donated to Lackawanna County and now taxpayer money may have to pay to install brand new ones.
None of the Lackawanna County commissioners nor the sheriff would talk with Newswatch 16 on camera or tell us if there have been any efforts to find the missing cells.
A county spokesperson says the current commissioners gave the go-ahead back in September to use the cells at the courthouse, under the assumption the county still had them. That spokesperson says the cells likely went missing under the Munchak/Cordaro administration. Both of those past commissioners are doing time in federal prison for corruption.